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Research News

Scholars Head to Philly for AERA 2024

April 08, 2024

More than 75 Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy scholars and alumni are participating in the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia April 11 through 14, 2024.

Headshot of Quinn Mulroy

Faculty Member Wins Ver Steeg Award

March 25, 2024

Northwestern University political scientist Quinn Mulroy received The Graduate School’s 2024 Ver Steeg Award for her often behind-the-scenes work supporting graduate students throughout the University, whether she was assigned to formally mentor them or not.

Learning Scientists Named to National Academies’ Committee

March 21, 2024

Northwestern University’s Sepehr Vakil and alumnus Victor Lee (PhD08) of Stanford University have been named to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine consensus committee charged with looking at artificial intelligence and data science in K-12 education.

Closing the Gender Gap in Computer Science

March 12, 2024

Student-run groups designed to foster a sense of belonging and solidarity among women in computer science may help boost female participation in the field, according to new Northwestern University research.

When Black Boys Have Black Teachers

March 08, 2024

Black teachers are less likely to identify same race students as needing special education services, according to new research by Northwestern University alumni Cassandra Hart (PhD11) and Constance Lindsay (PhD10).

Dan McAdams

The Mass Psychology of Trumpism

February 21, 2024

Donald Trump’s enduring appeal stems from the perception--his own and others’­­--that he is not a person, Northwestern University psychologist Dan P. McAdams wrote in New Lines Magazine. “In the minds of millions, Trump is more than a person,” he wrote. “And he is less than a person too."

Worsley Named Jacobs Fellow

February 01, 2024

Northwestern University’s Marcelo Worsley has been named a research fellow with the Jacobs Foundation to support his work helping students learn computer science through sports.

Researchers to Study School Reform in Evanston

February 01, 2024

Northwestern University researchers received a five-year, $4.5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to study racial equity, STEM education, and school reform in Evanston.

Headshots Steenbergen-Hu, Olszewski-Kubilius, and Calvert

CTD Researchers Win Mensa Award

January 06, 2024

Scholars from the School of Education and Social Policy’s Center for Talent Development received the Mensa Foundation’s Award for Excellence in Research for a study looking at whether interventions designed to help underachieving gifted students actually work.

Michelle Yin

Yin Secures Grant for Disability Transitions Project

December 06, 2023

Michelle Yin received a five-year $2.98 million grant from the US Department of Education and the Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to help children with disabilities transition from high school to adult life, independent living, and successful careers.

CTD instructor pointing at student's paper

CTD Awarded U.S. Department of Education Javits Grant

October 26, 2023

The Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy was recently awarded a 5-year, $600,000 Jacob K. Javits Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Claire Sampson and Rose Taylor

These Two Alums Won Knowles Fellowships

August 24, 2023

Northwestern University alumni Claire Sampson (MS23) and Rose Taylor (MS22) are the latest School of Education and Social Policy recipients of a five-year fellowship from the Knowles Teacher Initiative.

Ryan Smerek

Why it’s So Hard to Speak Up at Work

August 24, 2023

Whether you’re taking a stance against a bad idea or suggesting a new, innovative one, it can be scary and risky to advocate for workplace changes contrary to the conventional wisdom, Ryan Smerek says in his new book. But if done right, there are significant rewards.

illustration of comment balloons attached to ballot box

Revolutionary Civics: How Should Evanston Spend $3 Million?

August 23, 2023

The residents of Evanston, Ill. have no shortage of ideas about how to spend a tidy $3 million sum in federal COVID-19 relief funds. Protected bike lanes? Affordable housing? What about revitalizing the downtown area, improving mental health services, or fixing sidewalks?

Kirabo Jackson, Ofer Malamud, Diane Schanzenbach and Terri Sabol

Faculty Research Informs White House Report

August 09, 2023

An influential White House report on the nation’s economic progress cites research by four Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy faculty members in areas from early education and school funding to college readiness.

Kirabo Jackson

Does School Autonomy Improve Test Scores?

August 01, 2023

A new working paper by School of Education and Social Policy economist Kirabo Jackson found that granting more autonomy to high-quality principals and to principals of schools with atypical needs (like bilingual education or a population of students with special needs) increased student test scores, Mike McShane wrote in Forbes.

MAPSCorps members walking

MAPSCorps Symposium Celebrates Young Scientists

July 31, 2023

Young researchers who spent the summer pounding the pavement and collecting data about assets in their communities in Chicago, New York, and Rocky Mount (NC) will present their research during MAPSCorps’ 15th annual Scientific Symposium on Friday Aug. 4 at Malcolm X College in Chicago.

IDC 2023 welcome table

Defining Childhood in the Age of Tech

July 24, 2023

Researchers explored the meaning of childhood in a tech-infused world during the Association for Computer Machinery’s annual Interaction Design and Children (IDC) Conference at Northwestern University.

participant lining up M&M candies

E4 Center Brings Together Researchers and Educators

June 28, 2023

Educators, researchers, and curriculum providers gathered at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) for a conference focused on K-12 mathematics instruction.

Youth Guidance’s Working on Womanhood discussion session

Counseling Program Reduces Teen Girls’ PTSD Symptoms

June 19, 2023

School-based group counseling programs can significantly reduce post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression among Black and Latina girls, according to new research co-authored SESP economist Jonathan Guryan.

David Rapp

Rapp's Lab Combats Misinformation

June 05, 2023

Professor David Rapp and his students hold down an especially lively corner of psychology, one that requires them to mix it up with scholars, scientists, and journalists on a regular basis, Delia O’Hara wrote in a story for the American Psychological Association.

path and trees on a campus

New Research: Navigating the Risks of Party Rape

April 03, 2023 – from Northwestern Now

Women who have experienced sexual violence at fraternity parties have often been blamed for what happened to them. But new research on an elite college campus found that it’s becoming less common to fault the victim.

illustration of someone lying on the floor of a room

How has COVID Affected Children and Teens?

March 05, 2023

Three years after COVID was labeled a worldwide pandemic, experts are still assessing the impact on kids and debating whether closing schools was a good idea.

Mesmin Destin

Mesmin Destin: Messages That Can Change a Child’s Life

January 19, 2023

Whether the timing is intentional or serendipitous, hearing certain messages at critical moments can offer hope and keep people inspired to work towards their goals, Northwestern University’s Mesmin Destin said during a TEDxChicago talk at the Harris Theater.

James Spillane

What if Parents Designed Education Systems?

November 28, 2022

A new report co-authored by Northwestern University professor James Spillane explores the benefits of building education systems that develop the “whole” child and use the same rigor and comprehensive care that a parent might invest in their own offspring.

Jue Wu

Researchers Develop Novel Way to Assess DEI Programs

November 28, 2022

A systematic planning tool called “change mapping” can help analyze whether complex diversity, equity, and inclusion programs or initiatives are working, according to new research by Northwestern University alumna Jue Wu (PhD21).

baby yawning in bed next to teddy bear

Schwandt’s Research Finds Pandemic ‘Baby Bump’

October 26, 2022

Working from home may have boosted fertility among college-educated women, according to a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper co-authored by Northwestern University economist Hannes Schwandt.

2 children measuring liquid

Making Science More Meaningful

October 25, 2022

Northwestern University researchers and their partners received a $7.5 million grant to develop an innovative research-based science curriculum for elementary school classrooms, supported by professional learning resources for teachers.

Simone Ispa-Landa

OpEd: The Pitfalls of School Metrics

October 06, 2022

One size-fits-all metrics don’t fairly measure what matters most in many schools – a student’s mental health, Northwestern University sociologist Simone Ispa-Landa argues in a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post.

children in a classroom

What Happens When More Four-Year-Olds Attend Preschool?

August 23, 2022

Northwestern University researchers, in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, the Office of the Mayor of Chicago, and the Chicago Department of Family Support and Services, are studying how the recent expansion of universal prekindergarten in Chicago will impact students from lower income backgrounds.

Dean E. Patrick Johnson, Nichole Pinkard, Erica Halverson, Reed Stevens and Dean David Figlio

Halverson: Using the Arts to Fix a Broken System

April 21, 2022

Alumna Erica Halverson’s new book “How the Arts Can Save Education” is, strangely enough, not about arts education. Instead, Halverson uses arts practices to fundamentally rethink how “learning” should be measured and to design learning environments and experiences that can serve all kids.

Professor Cynthia Coburn

Faculty Contribute to New IES Report on Future of Ed Research

April 15, 2022

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) should change its structures and policies to better meet changing priorities in education – including improving equity and the usefulness of research, according to a new report whose authors include several Northwestern University faculty members.

Erica Halverson

How the Arts Can Save Education

March 29, 2022

Northwestern alumna Erica Halverson (SoC97, PhD05), a leading thinker and researcher on arts education, will discuss the powerful way creative processes can revitalize schools at 4 p.m. on April 13 in Annenberg Hall’s first floor Cycle Center.

Claudia Haase in front of a screen showing facial expressions

Why You Should Savor Fleeting Moments of Joy

March 10, 2022

Hold back on the bickering. New research co-authored by Northwestern University's Claudia Haase, suggests that couples who share sweet moments filled with humor and affection, and sync up biologically — two hearts beating as one — enjoy better health prospects and live longer than their more quarrelsome counterparts.

Kavita Kapadia Matsko

Are New Teachers Ready to Teach?

February 15, 2022

Kavita Kapadia Matsko’s research looking at three different ways to consider new teacher readiness for the classroom received the Journal of Teacher Education’s 2022 Article of the Year.

Kirabo Jackson

Making an Impact: Faculty Research Named Year's Best

December 22, 2021

Two papers coauthored by researchers at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) were named to the Edutopia’s “10 Most Significant Education Studies of 2021.”

Megan Imundo and David Rapp

The Dangers of 'Balanced' Climate Change Reporting

December 16, 2021

Journalists often strive to present at least two sides to an issue. But the tendency to appear balanced can backfire when it lends credibility to an idea that most experts consider unmerited, according to new Northwestern University research assessing climate change coverage.

Eva Lam

Lam Honored for Immigration Research

December 01, 2021

School of Education and Social Policy Professor Eva Lam and her coauthors received the Alan C. Purves Award from the National Council of Teachers of English for their research looking at what happens when young people tell their own immigration stories through documentary filmmaking.

Sally Nuamah

Here’s How Black Communities Responded to School Closures

November 17, 2021

Black Chicagoans who lived near a school that was shuttered during the largest wave of public-school closures in US history became more politically active and held their local officials accountable, according to a new Northwestern University study coauthored by professor Sally Nuamah.

Megan Bang, Carrie Tzou, Shirin Vossoughi, Sepehr Vakil

Researchers Tackle Inequity in STEM Education

November 16, 2021

Four School of Education and Social Policy researchers and alums will help address systemic inequities in PreK-12 STEM education as part of an esteemed National Academies’ committee.

Addie Shrodes

Shrodes Wins AAUW Dissertation Fellowship

November 12, 2021

Graduate student Addie Shrodes has received a highly competitive American Dissertation Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to support her work looking at how trans and queer teens learn critical digital literacies through everyday activities on social media.

Sally Nuamah

Why We All Pay When Black Girls are Punished

November 10, 2021

Northwestern University’s Sally Nuamah received the 2021 American Political Science Association, Best Paper on Intersectionality Award, for her work looking at how race and gender stereotypes affect public support for punishing Black girls.

Terri Sabol

Researchers Find Important Nuances in Race, Preschool Discipline

October 27, 2021

Teachers tend to complain more about Black preschool students and identify their behavior as problematic compared to white students — even though researchers found no differences when the children were observed in a laboratory setting, according to a new Northwestern University study.

Emma Adam

Emma Adam Named Associate Vice President for Research

October 15, 2021

Emma Adam, the Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Human Development and Social Policy in the School of Education and Social Policy has been named associate vice president for research at Northwestern University.

Saiying Steenbergen-Hu, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, and Eric Calvert

CTD Researchers Win Book, Paper of the Year Awards

October 08, 2021

Researchers at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development have won both Book of the Year and Paper of the Year awards from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).

Sarah Collier Villaume

Teens’ COVID-19 Stress Levels Tied to Parents’ Education

October 08, 2021

Family education levels predicted how much stress teenagers felt during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study by researchers at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy.

Carol Lee

Carol Lee Wins Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education

September 30, 2021

Northwestern University professor emeritus Carol Lee, president-elect of the National Academy of Education, has received a prestigious Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education for her outstanding contributions to learning sciences research.

Hannes Schwandt

Addressing America's Death Problem

September 28, 2021

Americans have shorter lives than similarly situated Europeans, even in the richest areas, according to new Northwestern University research coauthored by School of Education and Social Policy professor Hannes Schwandt. At the same time, longevity of Black Americans has been catching up, and the life expectancy gap between Black and white Americans fell by 48.9%.

Terri Sabol smiling at children

New Research: Illinois Fared Well Amid COVID-19 Chaos

September 19, 2021

Illinois is a national model for how to equitably allocate resources during trying times, according to a new report by Northwestern University researchers assessing the response to COVID-19 for child care programs in Illinois.

Jen Richards and Miriam Sherin

Learning from Classroom Video: How Can it Help Teachers?

September 13, 2021

Northwestern University professors Jen Richards and Miriam Sherin are co-principal investigators on a $700,000 collaborative National Science Foundation Grant that explores how teachers learn from watching video clips of their classroom.

Terri Sabol and Andrea Busby

New Research: Why We Should Listen to Preschoolers

May 28, 2021

Early childhood policies could be vastly improved by listening to the unexpectedly wise voices of those who stand to benefit: children as young as four years old, according to new Northwestern University research published in Translational Issues in Psychological Science.

Summer Learning and Beyond: Opportunities for Creating Equity

Leading Education Scholars: There's No Going Back

May 18, 2021

Schools should not return to the old “normal,” despite concerns about potential learning loss after a year of disruption, leading education scholars argue in a new report by the Spencer Foundation and the Learning Policy Institute.

Kendall Gail, Rohan Gupta, Madeline Lane, Madeleine Ward, and Sophie Boorstein

Undergrads Pursue Novel Research Projects

April 29, 2021

Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy students received 2020-21 Academic Year Undergraduate Research Grants (AYURG) to study everything from athletic shoe culture to the impacts of COVID19- and the Black Lives Matter movement on Black-owned businesses.

students from overhead

Presence of Immigrant Students Boosts Test Scores for All

April 25, 2021

U.S.-born students with high exposure to immigrants in their schools scored better on math and reading tests than similar students with low exposure to immigrants, according to a working paper co-authored by School of Education and Social Policy Dean David Figlio and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Destin Lab students

A Sneak Peek Inside the Destin Lab

April 21, 2021

Northwestern University social psychologist Mesmin Destin, a recent Guggenheim Fellow selection, explores how the presumed “disadvantages” related to students’ backgrounds can carry unrecognized strengths, Kirsten Weir wrote in “Finding Strength in Hardship.”

Carol Lee

Carol Lee Leads SESP Scholars at AERA

March 22, 2021

More than two dozen School of Education and Social Policy faculty members, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars will present their latest research on a wide range of education issues at the 2021 virtual American Education Research Association annual meeting held April 8 through 12.

Amy Pratt, Mesmin Destin and Simone Ispa-Landa

When Education Research Benefits Both Sides

January 29, 2021

Research partnerships between Universities and school districts need to be mutually beneficial, long term, and thoughtfully structured, Northwestern University researchers said during the annual meeting of the Mindset Scholars Network.

Sara Goldrick-Rab

Loeschner Lecturer Addresses a Growing Crisis: Hunger on College Campuses

November 18, 2020

Temple University professor Sara Goldrick-Rab, whose research inspired the documentary film “Hungry to Learn,” urged universities to collect data on hunger and food insecurity among their students in the latest installment of the School of Education and Social Policy's Nancy and Ray Loeschner Leadership Series at Northwestern University.

Jacquelyn Stephens and Emily Hittner

New Research: Being Upbeat Predicts Less Memory Decline

November 03, 2020

Being positive predicts less decline in memory during the aging process, according to a new study co-authored by researchers in the Life-Span Development Laboratory, including Claudia Haase, Emily Hittner, and Jacquelyn Stephens.

Professor Emma Adam

Loneliness and Uncertainty Major Stressors for College Students

November 01, 2020

Stress from COVID-19 — along with stress related to health care, the economy, racism and the presidential election — is seriously threatening the mental health of our country, particularly our youngest generation, according to a new national survey from the American Psychological Association (APA).

Students holding "I voted" signs

Understanding the Election: A Big Ten Collaboration

October 02, 2020

Election scholars from across the nation will discuss student voter registration, polling in key states and potential outcomes of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election during a special event open to all Big Ten students and guests.

We Deserve Futures sign at protest

Why STEM Education Shouldn’t Return to ‘Normal’

August 25, 2020

Young people would be better served by STEM education that teaches them to deal with the moral and ethical complexity of problems like pandemics and climate change, University of Illinois-Chicago and Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy education researchers argued in Truthout.

Julissa Muñiz and Cora Wigger

Rising Scholars Receive NAEd/Spencer Fellowships and Awards

June 14, 2020

Five early career researchers – including doctoral students Julissa Muñiz and Cora Wigger – were among the winners of the prestigious 2020 National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer Postdoctoral and Dissertation Fellowships Awards.

pregnant woman holding belly

Why Pregnant Women Can Be 'Cautiously Optimistic'

May 29, 2020

Pregnant women and their children should fare much better during the COVID-19 pandemic than their counterparts who experienced the 1918 Spanish Influenza, a Northwestern University report suggests.

person packing food box

COVID Impacts Leave More Families Hungry

May 21, 2020

The amount of economic distress families are facing requires “an urgent and sustained response from the federal government,” according to a new analysis of food insecurity by Northwestern University professor and economist Diane Schanzenbach and research analyst Abigail Pitts.

Hannes Schwandt

What Happens When You Start Work During a Recession?

April 22, 2020

Recent graduates who are unlucky enough to join the workforce during a recession will likely see a loss in income and negative health effects over their lifetime, Northwestern University economist Hannes Schwandt told political analyst Amy Walter, host of The Takeaway, Fridays.

The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump cover and Dan McAdams

The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump: A Psychological Reckoning

March 08, 2020

In his latest book, The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump: A Psychological Reckoning, Dan McAdams asserts that Donald Trump may be the rare person who lacks any inner story, something most people develop to give their lives unity, meaning, and purpose.

Kirabo Jackson

Kirabo Jackson: Invest in Education Early and Often

January 15, 2020

Educational investments are most cost-effective when they start early and are sustained throughout childhood, Northwestern University’s Kirabo Jackson said during the Education Policy Institute’s (EPI) Annual Lecture in London’s City Hall.

SESP Hosts Education Writers' Seminar on College Pathways

November 22, 2019

Almost all high school graduates now attend college, but that doesn’t mean they’re receiving a degree, Northwestern University’s James Rosenbaum told journalists during a two-day Education Writers Association seminar in Chicago that explored gaps between high school and post-secondary education.

Job Openings for Students New to Research

November 11, 2019

Several School of Education and Social Policy faculty members are looking for undergraduate students with no prior experience to help with research projects as part of the Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP).

Are All Head Start Classrooms Created Equal?

July 30, 2019

Individual classrooms within the Head Start program vary in quality and don’t always reflect the school as a whole, according to a new Northwestern University study published in the American Educational Research Journal.

A sleeping teen

Adam to Discuss Work on Sleep, Equity

May 06, 2019

Emma Adam, one of the world’s leading researchers on stress, race, and sleep, will discuss Sleep Equity: Good Sleep as a Resource (and a Right?) during the One SESP Graduate Student Dinner and Discussion.

Hannes Schwandt

Why You Don’t Want to Leave School During a Recession

May 05, 2019

The bad luck of leaving school during hard economic times can lead to higher rates of early death and permanent differences in life circumstances, Northwestern University’s Hannes Schwandt wrote in a policy brief.

Michael Horn, Jamie Gorson and Uri Wilensky during the first CS-LS Symposium

Computer Scientists and Learning Scientists Join Forces

May 04, 2019

Computer science classes and boot camps have never been more popular. But how can we help the next generation of students feel empowered by this technology? And how can that education reach everyone – not just those who are drawn to the traditional notions of computer science?

James Rosenbaum

Rosenbaum Receives Career Award – But Far From Slowing Down

April 10, 2019

James Rosenbaum’s ability to cultivate talented researchers and his passion for tackling pressing social issues recently earned him the Elizabeth G. Cohen Distinguished Career in Applied Sociology of Education Award from the American Education Research Association.

Lois Trautvetter (second from right) with her co-authors.

Women in STEM: How Can Universities Close Gender Gaps?

March 19, 2019

Colleges and universities that invest in gender parity ultimately help support women pursuing careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), according to a new book co-authored by Northwestern University’s Lois Trautvetter.

Sleeping teen

Does a Teen's Bedtime Really Matter?

February 27, 2019

An earlier bedtime may help teenagers by improving executive functioning abilities like memory, self-control, and problem solving, according to preliminary Northwestern University research.

Rose Hollister

How Leaders Can Lighten the Load

January 24, 2019

Initiative overload. It’s a condition many employees experience when senior leaders launch too many major projects.

Mesmin Destin

Mesmin Destin Wins Early Career Award

January 15, 2019

Northwestern University psychologist Mesmin Destin, whose research emphasizes the key role socioeconomic status plays in the study of human behavior, was recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA) for his stellar work in the early stages of his career.